1200 miles from home on the southeast side of Vermont,
I sat at a table outfitted with strawberry rhubarb pie
and sweet tea good enough for any southerner. Below,
a blind mare bumped into the side of the barn-turned-home
of a woman who had invited me into her way of life long before
I left Alabama to settle myself in her kitchen. I watched
as she chose her words: hardly as pared down as her poetry,
but just as precise. She eyed me when she spoke; it made me nervous
for reasons she couldn’t understand, and warm in a way
I couldn’t word. This woman, whose writing had made me want
to taste words and run inside them, conversed with me
earnestly, without hinging on a thing other than finer details
of my phrasing. After finishing off my third glass of tea,
I found my way to her living room and sat myself down on the floor
next to her dogs. With my hand on the belly of her youngest,
who had wallowed her way up to my lap, I spied Kathryn looking
at me as if I were more than some silly kid who took a shine
to her. It sent a batch of shivers over me to see her see me
as someone who meant something, whatever the adjectives
for me were in her head. I’d only looked at one other person
with so much adoration in my whole life, and I had buried her
less than a year before my trek north. I needed someone
with a careful eye and a simple threading of words to speak
to me – to fit me back together the way my grandmother
had kept me whole. Kathryn showed me her kindness; the grace
of her poetry became a second thought, only after the tenderness
of her reach. I came back home to Alabama with dog hair all over
my dress and a story I wish I could have told my grandmother.

This poem is dedicated to Kathryn King, who has no idea
what kind of effect she’s had on me.

Originally published in Issue 6 of Bop Dead City,
where it was the winner of the ‘Home’ poetry contest.
A print copy of the magazine may be purchased here.



  1. I’d only looked at one other person
    with so much adoration in my whole life, and I had buried her
    less than a year before my trek north.

    Goosebumps. This could possibly be one of my favorite poems.

    Would it be okay if I shared your piece on my pet project, poem-a-day site, wordsfortheyear.com with a link back to your blog and to Bop Dead City? -christy

      1. Awesome, thanks Rachel! I’ll prob schedule it next week sometime and will be sure to ping you.

        And you popped up again in my email…from WordsDance, in a blurb about Kristina’s new book Chloe. I was like, “Hey, I know her!” LOL. Have a great weekend!

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